22.02.2011
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European students adopt Budapest declaration

“Students are the main actors in higher education, and recent protests across Europe are a clear indication that students wish to maintain the role of higher education (HE) as a public good and public responsibility in order to guarantee equal access and success.” This is the main message of the Budapest Declaration, adopted at the 21st European Students’ Convention (ESC) on 18 February in Budapest.

The ESC is jointly organised by the European Students’ Union (ESU) and  its Hungarian member union, HÖOK. The Budapest declaration also  emphasises the importance of students’ involvement on all institutional  levels. The Budapest declaration can be downloaded on www.esu-online.org/news/article/6065/58.
ESU’s Chairperson, Bert Vandenkendelaere said: “A promise of the Bologna Process Framework was that students would be recognised as equal partners and involved at every level of decision making. Sadly enough this is, ten years after this promise was made, still non-existent. In no European country, students are involved at every level.”

During the ESC, which lasted from 15-18 February, students from 35 European national unions of students – including underground organisations such as the Belarussian students’ union- discussed ways to improve the participation of students within their national governments and exchanged best practices on how to be influential.

The students also spoke about international policy developments, such as the Modernisation Agenda of Higher Education on the EU level, including the education targets of the EU2020 Strategy and the national discussions that are taking place on this issue. Also loan schemes, gender equality, student union development from grass-root level and other challenges that students are facing were on the agenda of the students.

Students’ participation in Hungary, who currently holds the rotating EU Presidency, is heavily under threat. A law proposal which suggests to decrease the percentage of students in decision-making bodies at universities has been under discussions for months. HÖOK is striving hard to amend this law and ESU supports them in this battle.

For more information, please contact: Bert Vandenkendelaere, ESU Chairperson: +32473669892 / bert@esu-online.org or Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32473669894 / marianne@esu-online.org

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